[This article was written by Lizzie Weakley.]
Starting your manufacturing business at home is a great strategy. You can reduce overhead, simplify your work-life balance, and take advantages of short blocks of time to get something done. In time, the success of your business may make it necessary to expand, and your ability to maintain those advantages will hinge on your ability to complete the expansion without relocating. Here are four things you’ll need to make that happen.
Additional Production & Inventory Space
There’s no hiding from the fact that a business expansion will probably mean a space expansion. To turn out quality molded products, you’ll need somewhere to keep shipments from your polyurethane casting material supplier. You’ll also need room for the casting work to be done, for finished products to be prepared for shipment, and so on. Your first priority should be to think about where your expansion will happen.
Permits and Inspections
Your existing operations may fall just under the thresholds of various regulatory agencies, such as OSHA or your local government. An expansion in operations or staffing could tip the balance toward additional regulatory requirements. Be sure to review all relevant standards to make sure that you won’t exceed those minimum levels, and if you will, make sure you are prepared to submit required applications, fees, and inspections so that your operations can continue uninterrupted.
Many home businesses can operate just fine with consumer-grade equipment when the demands placed on it are modest, but there are limits. Your power tools, cooking equipment, and even IT gear may all need to be upgraded as the business grows. Remember that a plan to expand production by 10% will also put 10% more maintenance, repair, and depreciation on all your equipment. Be aware when the scales tip in favor of an investment in commercial-grade replacements.
Along with heavier equipment comes a heavier energy demand. Your residential power and gas connections may finally be maxed out with your expansion plans. You’ll need to talk to your suppliers about how they can provide you with more power. Your home may also need a heavier electrical service or other modifications to accommodate the surging demand for energy, water, and waste.
Controlling rent costs and simplifying your daily commute are good reasons to perform your manufacturing at home, but the success you achieve in the early years will probably bring on the need for expansion. Plan the upgrade carefully so that your business stays on track.
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her husky, Snowball.